PG creation advice

Hi everyone, after the question related to the Shapeshifter ability my SG decided to let me change the PG around, so here comes the "other" question that I submit to you experts.

From my research I have seen that an ability such as FAST CASTER, SKILLED PARENS and METHOD CASTER are a great way to boost abilities and spell casting chances (we are playing at the lowers level possible, just out of school).

Are there other Virtues (and "reccommended Flaws") that you would suggest? How do you value these three virtues above?

The type of magi that I am going to play is a bit "Borderline" Bonisagus, he's never really been too attracted by the pedantic studies that he was imposed and he learnt PERDO without his master noticing (or at least he thinks so). He would act a bit as a political beast, trying to use his powers to climb the influence ladder...

Thanks for the help!

I'm not entirely sure what you want the magus to be good at.
Fast Caster IIRC only helsp when you fast cast spontaneous spells or mastered formulaic spells with the fast casting mastery. You get a bonus to the Qik+Finesse roll.
Skilled Parens is a 'power virtue' to give you more exp for abilities/arts and more spell levels. Good for wanting an edge to begin with, but other virtues can give other benefits.
Method Caster IIRC gives a flat bonus for formulaic magic, which is good to help your spells succeed (or prevent fatigue loss), even when in difficult circumstances. However a +3 bonus is offset by even a Dominion rating of 1, so does it help enough? You're still at a +3 advantage compared to your sodales of similar age.

You say Bonisagus, but less bookish/lab rat and more political. That sounds like a Trianoma you you ask me. To play the political game well, the Trianoman Bonisagi's free virtue of puissant intrigue helps. Otherwise prioritize COm and Prs and focus on social abilities like intrigue, charm, guile (leadership?) and political knowledge like Order of Hermes Lore.

Concerning your magic, why would your master not think Perdo was worth anything? IMHO you could easily find a Bonisagus thinking this is the art to focus on. But if your concept is that you've trained an art which the master dislikes, thats fine. Do you want to be a specialist? If so, take puissant perdo, affinity with perdo and deft perdo. Do you aim to be a generalist, to use all sorts of magic as a tool for the political power? If so Secondary Insight could be a thing. Book Learner is an ever popular virtue to ensure you get the most out of every season of studying. Free study as well, but vis study is less efficient than books, and at the lower levels books should be readily available.

Much depends on how you want to gain the political power. Do you want to worm and weasel your way into power, then I'd focus on abilities. The magic suitable for this would be unpopular if not outright illegal to use on other magi. And risky and difficult also. If magic is used to gain the trust and high status from highly placed and important magi. It doesn't really matter what kind of magic, just take on assignments and challenges to help them out, and you will be a rising star. And then use your social abilities to climb faster and get ahead of the other contenders.

About flaws...don't go for Black SHeep or other kinds of poor rep, since those hurt your chances of climbing the social ladder fast. If your master bears a grudge because of the Perdo business, consider having him as an enemy or meddlesome, recurring npc. He need not be an antagonist, he might be well-meaning (but unwelcome) and trying to help you become 'all the Bonisagus you can be'. Ambitious is an obvious personality flaw. Make sure the magus is more outgoing them withdrawn, otherwise he'd have a hard time playing the political field. Dark secret could cover some dubious actions you'be been involved in to gain power in the past.


EDIT: Oh, yes: I forgot to mention that SFB also lets you boost Pre to +3, or something like that.

Method Caster isn't very good. It's not bad, but not great. Fast Caster, on the other hand, is very good for certain kinds of characters--but read carefully: It might not do what you think it does. Skilled Parens is simply excellent.

Fast Caster seems less than useful for a political animal. Gentle Gift, on the other hand, lets your magus do the same political stuff among mundanes as he does among magi. If he's going to politic, why limit his scope to a fraction of a percent of Mythic Europe?

My favorite House using canonical rules is Ex Misc. Magi who try to be good at everything aren't very good, so there's always a Major Flaw to be found. Unnatural Magic is nice for this. In a low-vis saga, Rigid Magic is even better.

If he's a political beast, he wants Abilities, and nothing boosts Abilities like Strong Faerie Blood. Think of it as providing Second Sight, the ability to see in the dark, and the ability to give your character 15 extra years before Gauntlet without penalty. That's 225xp you can use for Guile, Bargain, Etiquette, Organization Lore... Of course, I would be wary about playing a political beast in this saga. Your GM seems to me like the kind of guy who will ignore your character's Abilities in order to "make the story better" or because your personal eloquence and charisma is not up to that of someone with Com +2, Pre +3, Intrigue 5....

Probably the best use of political skills is your figuring out your SG's prejudices, and designing a character around them.



Hi everyone!

Thanks for the advice...

Fast Caster seemed interesting to have an edge in a possible fight to be able to cast spells earlier than others, apart from being able to cast spells in reaction to something that happens.

Skilled Parens was interesting to get a "good start", maybe increasing Concentration, Penetration and Finesse together with the extra 30lvl spells that being formulaic could use the +3 bonus of the Method Caster feat.

Method caster seemed simply a good way to avoid getting fatigued too much when casting 25th level spells which are the max that I am allowed for this campaign start.

As to the political animal, at the moment being a mr.nobody I have built the PG as a sort of magus that would use his high sneak and hide attributes (we played as "non magi" and I was a sort of sneaky kid that tried to avoid situations rather than jump into them) plus some spells that I have made, to gain informations and eventually secrets even of his companions. I am going for Silent Spell and Subtle Spells for sure (for example), but I realize that as a low level character some 25 lev spells are really hard to cast without getting fatigued and I guess I should avoid that...

How about PUISSANT (Technique/Form)? Is it something good?

On the other side I have a fear that too many "early boosts" will help now, but as the character grows I will not have any real benefit...


If you're sneaky, you cast first because of surprise. So not needed.

If your GM is sneaky, you cast second because of surprise. So not needed.

A better way to avoid fatigue is to have a TeFo at 25.

Yes. Better than Method Caster, which isn't all that good.

It takes a long time for another magus to catch up to Skilled Parens.



Have you considered Minor/Major Magical Focus? That will get you tons more in handling fatigue loss and providing penetration, though with a limited group of things. Also you should consider putting points into Mastery, be they through Flawless Magic or another way. Those points give you bonuses to your casting total, too. More importantly, they provide nice abilities. Multiple Casting and Fast Casting are especially nice.

Generally speaking, you'll find the character more useful if you can do a few things really really well than if you can feign competence at lots of things. So... just what is it you want to be able to do well?


What O. said.

(crosspost - and C's last paragraph. Fast/Multi-casting is great for combat magi - not sure if this is him. As C said - "Do a few things really well", and "combat" won't be one without several more Virtues in that direction. If he does take Spell Mastery, he'll certainly use it - just not sure it's where this one wants to go.)

For a new player, I'll avoid the complexities and subtleties of some suggestions. There are "concept characters" that are a lot of fun to play, but are not as simply, generically "strong" as otherwise. And I think you're looking to have your fun with "simply strong" first, at least by some common yardstick.

Many Virtues give 50 xp in some field, possibly with an additional access to an otherwise restricted Ability set - Arcane Studies, Education, Warrior, etc. (Magi have "all access", so that's not an extra attraction with those.) Skilled Parens gives 60 pts, plus the +30 pts in spells - hard to beat it if that's the direction you want. Saves the equiv of 6 years of pre-apprentice years, 3 of post-, and about 3 years of in-game study - a nice headstart. (Educated or Arcane Studies on top of that isn't as strong but isn't bad either, and makes sense story-wise for a Bonisagus.)

Puissant with Art is better than Affinity unless you want to go over a total of 13 (10+3 Puissant) in that Art (for your mage's age)- that requires an Affinity (see page 32, col iii, top). If you're going big (but not "too" big), go Puissant. (And similarly with Puissant Abilities, if with diff limits - see chart page 31, col i.)

(Sounds like your mage will take Puissant with Intrigue as their free House virtue, from page 30, unless they were forced to take Psst Mag Theory by their Parens (your choice, purely "back story"). Taking both, one as a free and one as a "bought" virtue, is not a bad choice either - Magic Theory is key to lab work, and your mage will be in the lab, trust me.)

Inventive Genius is another great foot-up in the lab, and another widely popular virtue. You won't regret it.

For a simple Major Magical Virtue for a starting player, I'd recommend Mythic Blood. Others can certainly work, but this is simple and clean, and user-friendly. Keeps your mage from getting fatigued during spell casting ( a common pitfall for new players), has a free "magical effect" (which can be outside your Arts, saving study in that direction), and gives a free Minor Magical Focus (but max is 1 MF/mage) - which makes him strong in one narrow type of spell effect. (And means that higher-magnitude spells in that area are now within reach.)

Strong Faerie Blood isn't bad - gives a +1 to Presence (a social stat, and he's going to be a social animal), gives free Second Sight (always handy), negates penalties for casting in a Fae Aura, and gives him a better starting point when negotiating with Fae. (Those last can be more or less important depending on the saga and character's in-game choices, but you never know what will happen.) Whether all that is worth a +3 pts Major Virtue is up to you (and your final math).

Then, if he really wants to be the politico, I'd recommend something like Gossip and/or Social Contacts (the latter esp if he's pumped Presence.)

And, as suggested, don't get seduced by Flaws that come with negative Hermetic Social penalties. Mage up, take about 5 pts of Magical Flaws, take a Major Story Flaw and some Personality Flaws that you can RP, and call it good.

(And as I do about twice a year, I'll plug this again, with apologies for those who've already read it:

A "How to" of Magi CharGen for the Boggled )


All of this is true.

Yes. Choose your 120 or 150 levels of spells, trying to cram as many into a single TeFo as you can. Imaginem looks promising for a character of this kind. Only choose Arts after you know your starting spells. Lots of low level utility spells might be the way to go.

Another approach for a magus who plans mostly to use Abilities is to put nothing in Arts to start with! No, really. You're more likely to have good books at the covenant on Arts than on Bargain or Charm or Church Lore or sneaking around stuff, so dump all your starting xps into that.

Then, take Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic, for when you really need a clutch spell. If you find yourself wanting to cast certain spells again and again and again, learn those as Formulaics.




SFB doesn't negate casting penalties in a Faerie Aura. Faerie Magic does that. SFB lets you see in the dark, a level 5 spell.

But indeed, SFB would only be "eh" if it did all of the above.

Here's what puts SFB over the top, making it my favorite virtue: It also provides a secret bonus of 225 free xps. Just create a regular magus, then make him 15 years older before he began his apprenticeship. This does him no harm at all, because SFB characters start to age at 50 rather than 35.

That's more than Well-Travelled, Educated, Privileged Upbringing and Good Parens combined. Plus SFB includes Second Sight, night vision, a point of Presence (or something yummy). Now, these xps are a bit restricted, but a social magus has plenty of necessary General Abilities that need plumping, and another point or two of Second Sight doesn't hurt either.



Oh, ya, good point about the 0 Arts. I don't go that far, but I do have a tendency to push that way myself. I figure I can catch up in the Arts. I am still very good at something so that I'm useful. For example, my current character I'm starting is a Jerbiton who can speak all languages, has the Gentle Gift, and is very good at some artistic Abilities. Meanwhile my Arts are rather weak, roughly half what the other beginning magi have.

I think you can see we will all be able to give you good advice and have similar thoughts. Let us know what you would like to be able to do with your magic, and we can help you out.



Re: A "How to" of Magi CharGen for the Boggled

Did you give me similar advice in an old Stonehenge saga back in LA in the late 90s? Or am I confusing you with another ars playing GM in LA? (Who also gave the same advice).

Thanks everyone for the help, I am shaping up the magi looking at your advice. Although I do not fully understand how the Magical Focus works (I have asked my SG as I will have to decide with him what are the "areas" and what do they "cover").

At the moment I have selected the following (but might change them when I get to understand how magical focus works):

Fast Caster
Method Caster
Skilled Parens
Subtle Magic
Quiet Magic
Life Boost
Puissant PERDO

Life Boost seems a very nice feat when you have those situation where the magic MUST work, although I haven't got any "terrible death and despair" spells it seems a very nice way to make sure that "things work" (maybe even a spontaneous) when they must.

Fast caster seems useful in combat related situations of course (its only real use), my magus is not really meant to fight openly (I have a couple of formulaic that allow me to flee at great speed, fly and such things). I have a couple of offensive spells and this ability gives me the idea that I can be the first casting it... (but maybe I am mistaken)

SFB doesn't stick to me so I'd rather not go for it...

I guess that I could cancel method caster for minor magical focus, but I really do not know how to make it work... My Arts/Techs are, got Stamina at 2:


Thanks for the help your advice is very useful!


I might not normally go 0 Arts, but in combination with LLSM, it makes a lot of sense. (My advice to him about Spontaneous Magic differs slightly from my usual because his GM strikes me as unlikely to allow Magic Foci or Charm Magic to work well. He also strikes me as the kind of guy who is likely to say "five botch dice" just because, unless he remembers that you have Cautious Sorcerer, in which case it's "eight botch dice.")

Your Jerbiton took the Heroic Virtue?

slow nod When it comes to that, a lot of common ground.

Except that this character exercise, I'd amend it to "let us know what you would like to be able to do with your magic after feeling sure that your GM isn't going to stop you from being able to do it."





All good, but take Quiet Magic a second time.


If you see him doing lots of Perdo in the future, take Affinity with Perdo. If you don't, take something entirely different and more interesting.

LB doesn't work on sponts.

Feeling good about your character is certainly more important than optimizing him.



OK. But what do you want your magus to do with his magic? What's his style? That's more important for us to give you good help than knowing what scores you are considering. I get that you don't want him to be combat-oriented, though you have some desire to have a little something available for combat. I'm just not getting a picture. For example, right now we have:

A Bjornaer who had the talent and so was trained to be a master healer. So we showed the player how to make a really, really good healer.

A Bonisagus counter-magic specialist. He is especially focused in Perdo and Vim. He has also thrown in Intellego so he can detect the magic he wants to remove.



Yes, we're on the same page, which is why I said I don't go that far, but do believe in the principle.

Ah, right! I hadn't thought about the GM issue. Cautious Sorcerer could be really handy. I love it anyway, and if the GM is picking on everyone, it spares you a bit.

Oh, not Gift of Tongues. I've got Faerie Blood and picked up Faerie Speech. Then I dumped a lot of points into it. If I'd had Mythic Blood, then I'd have gone the other route. I was doing the Faerie Blood anyway, so the other was much more fitting, though pretty expensive.


You know how Casting Totals and Lab Totals are figured, Te+Fo+etc? A MF adds the smaller of Tech or Form again. So if you have a Tech 8 + Form 6, that's 8+6(+6) = 20 right there, instead of 14 - and it just keeps getting bigger as you study.

A Minor Magical Focus can encompass anything "slightly narrower than a single Tech/Form combination", or the equiv.

I would never recommend LB for a new player.

In the hands of an experienced player, it's great. If you ever use it "too soon", your mage is drained and in deep yogurt. I'd have to say that the majority of magi who have LB (or LLSM, similar enough) die from it , esp w/ new players.

Mythic Blood adds an effective +10 to all rolls (to avoid fatigue, anyway), and then all the other bonuses. Free Focus, free power - it's the way, really.

Important to consider the environment he's going into, true.

And see Regio. And see spirits. And see Invisible creatures. And see illusions. And... more, and all that 24/7. A bit more than a 5 pt spell.

Don't remember ever playing in a SH saga, altho' it's possible it was aborted or just very short-lived. But it would have to have been '01 or later. That advice is the accumulation of many diff on-line discussions, so it's possible, or that it was copied/pasted by someone who saw it. (I could dig up the original txt files, see if there's anything on that - might have been on the old GoAndRolePlay site, long since defunct.)